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Canadians asked to read the book ‘Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call’ this month

A group of Indigenous activists associated with Idle No More and Defenders of the Land have launched ‘Canada Reads: The Unsettling of Canada Edition’.

This web-page notes, “During the month of June leading up to the July 1 holiday, [these groups] will be encouraging all Canadians to read Arthur Manuel’s book Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call. Manuel, who passed away in January was one of the leading strategists of the anti-colonial struggle and has been likened to the Nelson Mandela of the Indigenous movement.”

It adds. “His book, which he co-authored with Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, shows how Canadian policy toward Indigenous peoples incorporated and still reflects all the elements of colonialism that are condemned by the United Nations: dispossession, forced dependancy and oppression.”

In the foreword, Naomi Klein writes, “This is the back story of both grassroots and backroom struggles that created the context in which we find ourselves today, one in which a new generation of First Nations leaders is demanding sovereignty and self-determination, and more and more non-Indigenous Canadians finally understand that huge swaths of this country we call Canada is not ours—or our government’s—to sell.”

The promotion for the reading month also highlights, “On July 1, Canadians are encouraged to organize formal or informal public reading or discussion of Unsettling Canada or of key decolonial texts like the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples or the Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations.”

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

The Council of Canadians has long-supported UNDRIP. In September 2007, we issued a media release that stated, “The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Canadian government show leadership on indigenous rights by supporting the Declaration and taking necessary measures to ensure justice for Aboriginal communities in Canada.” We have also expressed our support for NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s Private Member’s Bill, C-262 which aims to make UNDRIP Canadian law.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

In June 2015, we also endorsed all 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. Maude Barlow says, “It is imperative to recognize that cultural genocide was perpetrated against Indigenous peoples in this country. The truth and reconciliation process and its recommendations should be seen as a call to action for all Canadians to work to address the wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples and ensure that injustices are not continued in any form in the present day.”

Excerpts of Unsettling Canada are being posted here. The book should also be available in your local public library (if not, ask them to order it). The book’s publisher Between the Lines will also be providing a 20 per cent discount on the book this month. Please support your local independent bookstore, but the book is also available in Kindle (for $13) and print (for $25) formats from Amazon.ca.

A news article about this reading campaign can be read here.